MLB NY Yankees

Ledger Prediction: Yankees Opening Day Roster

The New York Yankees will be making their final decisions on who heads to the Bronx to begin the season. New York is poised to have a monster season in 2021, or at least that is the organization’s hope and the fans alike. So with the season quickly approaching, we make our prediction on who will be on the Opening Day roster on April 1st against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The No Doubters ~ The Starting Nine

The offensive lineup for the New York Yankees is one of the least debatable aspects of this team. The only “question” going into Spring was whether or not the organization was actually going to allow Clint Frazier to take over the long-overdue role of the everyday left fielder. And that was settled in one of Aaron Boone’s early press conferences this Spring. So the starting nine is as follows…

  • Catcher ~ Gary Sanchez
  • First Base ~ Luke Voit
  • Second Base ~ DJ LeMahieu
  • Third Base ~ Gio Urshela
  • Shortstop ~ Gleyber Torres
  • Left Field ~ Clint Frazier
  • Center Field ~ Aaron Hicks
  • Right Field ~ Aaron Judge
  • Designated Hitter ~ Giancarlo Stanton

The Locks ~ The Starting Rotation

Going into Spring Training, there was a battle for the fifth spot in the rotation. However, as the Spring progressed, it was clear that Domingo German won that battle. While others held their own, Domingo dominated, looking better than when he won 18 games in 2019. So the rotation shakes out as follows…

  • Ace ~ Gerrit Cole
  • #2 ~ Corey Kluber
  • #3 ~ Jameson Taillon
  • #4 ~ Jordan Montgomery
  • #5 ~ Domingo German

Closing Crew ~ The Bullpen

The Yankees bullpen has already been dealt some adverse blows this Spring, with the injuries to Zack Britton and Justin Wilson. And while Wilson’s injury isn’t expected to be a long-term thing, it opens the door for other players to make the Opening Day roster. So here are the locks to make the Opening Day Yankees bullpen…

  • Closer ~ Aroldis Chapman 
  • Setup ~ Chad Green
  • Reliever ~ Darren O’Day
  • Reliever ~ Jonathan Loaisiga
  • Lefty ~ Justin Wilson
  • Lefty ~ Lucas Luetge
  • Longman ~ Luis Cessa

Solid Bets ~ The Bench

Part of the Yankees bench is easy to figure out. Kyle Higashioka will make this team as the backup catcher. Brett Garner makes the team as an additional outfielder. And Tyler Wade, much to some Yankee fans’ dismay, will make this team as well.

Tyler Wade Side Note

Now just a brief sidebar on Tyler Wade. Wade isn’t meant to be an offensive force; that’s not his role. Tyler Wade is in this Yankees roster because he can play shortstop and no one else on this team is on the “SS” depth chart in the clubhouse. The ire against Wade is unfounded because he plays his role quite well. If you this back just a few years ago to another Yankee shortstop named Brendan Ryan.

Brendan Ryan wasn’t on the 2013-2014 Yankees to be an offensive force. Brendan was on those Yankees’ teams to be a defensive replacement, and that is all his role was meant to be on that team. And similarly, that is all the role that Tyler Wade is supposed to fill. Tyler Wade is a defensive replacement and pinch-runner, and that’s it. So Tyler Wade is also a sure bet on making the Opening Day roster.

Spring Training Battles Remaining

So that leaves just two open spots in this team, presumably one in the bullpen and one on the bench. The offensive battle playing out this Spring is coming to a close as Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich must be informed today of the Yankees’ plans for the Opening Day roster. Thus the front office must decide whether the final bench role goes to Mike Tauchman, Jay Bruce, or Derek Dietrich today. The final bullpen spot should also be decided upon shortly, as the season is one week away. So here are the predictions for how the final two spots on the 2021 Yankees/ Opening Day roster will shake out. 

  • Bench ~ Mike Tauchman
  • Bullpen ~ Michael King

Why Tauchman?

The decision to select Mike Tauchman over Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich might seem like an odd choice, at first, but there’s one major factor to account for, Brian Cashman. There is the sense that the Yankees believe that there is more talent to squeeze out of Tauchman than has currently been shown. A couple of seasons ago, Tauchman had quite the little breakout season. And the Yanks front office believes that there is more in his bat than we’ve seen.

Realistically the easiest comparison to make and the biggest reason for New York to hold onto Tauchman is right on their own team, Gio Urshela. The Yankees’ front office believes that Tauchman could become the outfield version of the Gio Urshela transformation. And that’s why the Yankees will be reluctant to part ways with Mike Tauchman. 

If I Were Choosing, It’d be Jay Bruce.

If I were making the Yankees Opening Day roster’s final decision, Jay Bruce would make this team. Bruce provides some versatility being able to play both corner outfield spots as well as first base. But more importantly, Bruce possesses a potent left-handed bat that is otherwise void in this lineup. However, given the Yankees affinity for Mike Tauchman, I believe the powers that be will select Tauchman over Bruce. 

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